LINGUIST List 13.2837

Mon Nov 4 2002

Review: Lang Description: Trudgill & Hannah (2002)

Editor for this issue: Terence Langendoen <>

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  1. Marc Picard, Trudgill & Hannah (2002) International English, 4th ed.

Message 1: Trudgill & Hannah (2002) International English, 4th ed.

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 20:57:39 -0400
From: Marc Picard <>
Subject: Trudgill & Hannah (2002) International English, 4th ed.

Trudgill, Peter, and Jean Hannah (2002) International English: A Guide
to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th ed. Arnold, xv+153pp,
paperback ISBN 0-340-80834-9, $21.95.

Reviewed by Marc Picard, Concordia University

[See issue 13.2835 for explanation of the delay in posting this review.
- Eds.]

Although this book is in its fourth edition, and Trudgill and Hannah
(henceforth T & H) have added a rather substantial amount of new
material since it was first published some twenty years ago, its main
focus remains the same, namely "*Standard English*, the variety of the
English language which is normally employed in writing and normally
spoken by 'educated' speakers of the language" (p. 1). It is made up of
eight chapters - two more than in the original edition - which are
followed by a two-page glossary, a slightly longer list of references
and an index.

Chapter 1 begins by introducing what are generally considered to be the
two main standard varieties of English. The first is British English or,
as the authors prefer to call it, English English (EngEng) which
"generally means Standard English as it is normally written and spoken
by educated speakers of England and, with minor differences, in Wales,
Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Australia, New
Zealand and South Africa" (p. 2). The other major variety is North
American English (NAmEng) by which they mean "English as it is written
and spoken by educated speakers in the United States of America and
Canada" (p. 2). This chapter also includes a section on the spread of
English, and one on the nature of native overseas Englishes which is a
recent addition to the text.

Chapter 2 comprises three main sections. The first is on Received
Pronunciation (RP) which is "the accent which is normally taught to
students who are studying EngEng" (p. 8). T & H provide a description of
the vowel and consonant systems of this form of English as well as a
list of the most notable vowel differences that are found in what they
call near-RP south-of-England accents. The second section discusses the
major phonological and grammatical features of Australian English
(AusEng), New Zealand English (NZEng) and South African English
(SAfEng). The last section does the same for Welsh English (WEng).

The next two chapters deal with North American English. The first is
devoted exclusively to pronunciation and includes sections on vowels,
consonants, stress, regional differences in the United States (USEng),
and a recently added separate section on Canadian English (CanEng). In
the second chapter, the authors deal in turn with some of the salient
grammatical, orthographical and lexical differences between NAmEng and
EngEng. What emerges from this survey is that while "there are
relatively few differences in grammar and spelling between EngEng and
NAmEng ... vocabulary differences ... are very numerous and are
capable of causing varying degrees of comprehension problems" (p. 55).

Chapter 5 focuses on Scottish English (ScotEng) and Irish English
(IrEng). In the first section, T & H "concentrate on Scottish English as
used and spoken by educated, middle-class urban Scots", which
constitutes "a form of Standard English which is grammatically and
lexically not very different from that used elsewhere" though it is
spoken "with a very obviously Scottish accent" (p. 91). The rest of the
chapter is divided between the English of Northern Ireland (NIrEng) and
that of the Republic (SIrEng). The former refers specifically to "the
ScotEng-origin varieties spoken in the north of Ireland, i.e.
Ulster-Scots and Mid-Ulster English" while the latter denotes "the
EngEng-origin varieties of the south of Ireland" (p. 99).

The original Chapter 6, which contained two sections entitled
"English-based Creoles" and "Non-native Varieties of English", has been
expanded to three separate chapters. The first of these examines West
Indian Standard English, that is, Jamaican English (JamEng) and other
Caribbean Englishes such as those of Trinidad and Guyana, as well as
various English-based pidgins and creoles of that area. Chapter 7
surveys lesser-known Englishes, i.e., those of "many other places in the
world where there are long-established communities of native English"
(p. 115), such as the Channel Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the
Falklands, Zimbabwe, etc. Finally, Chapter 8 looks into the numerous
second language varieties of English which are found "in those nations
where English is used as an official language, and/or as a language of
education, and/or as a means of wider communication within the country,
by people who are not native speakers" (p. 123). There are sections on
the varieties spoken in West Africa, East Africa, India, Singapore and
the Philippines.

Any book which is deemed worthy of a fourth edition must be answering
the needs of a great many people. As an instructor in English phonetics
and phonology who has always encouraged students to transcribe material
in their own dialect, I have often gone to this guide in search of the
major characteristics of certain varieties of non-NAmEng speech in order
to help them find the symbols that would most faithfully reflect their
pronunciation. Just recently, for example, a student from Scotland came
to me for help in determining how she should transcribe words like 'pat'
and 'pot', and I was able to confirm to her through the table of ScotEng
vowels on p. 92 that she was using a central low vowel in the former and
a mid-low back rounded vowel in the latter in contradistinction to my
CanEng low front/back (unrounded) opposition in such forms. In sum, my
own personal use of this handbook over the last fifteen years or so has
convinced me that T & H have more than fulfilled their modest goal of
providing "at least a partial solution to the problem of recognizing and
coping with differences among the standard varieties of English by
covering differences at the levels of phonetics, phonology, grammar and
vocabulary" (p. 3).

Marc Picard teaches phonetics, phonology and general linguistics in the
TESL Centre at Concordia University in Montreal. He is currently doing
research on differential substitution in L2 phonology as well as on the
place of allophones in L2 pronunciation teaching.
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